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Percubaan Penyihir George Jacobs

Percubaan Penyihir George Jacobs



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George Jacobs (Percubaan penyihir Salem)

George Jacobs, Sr. (sekitar 1620–1692) adalah penjajah Inggeris pada tahun 70-an di Massachusetts Bay Colony yang dituduh melakukan sihir pada tahun 1692 semasa percubaan penyihir Salem di Salem Village, Massachusetts. Dia dihukum dan digantung pada 19 Ogos 1692. Anaknya, George Jacobs, Jr., juga dituduh tetapi menghindari penangkapan. Penuduh Jacobs termasuk menantu dan cucunya, Margaret. [1]

Mayat Jacobs dikebumikan berhampiran tempat dia digantung. Pada tahun 1950 ditemukan tulang yang dipercayai miliknya. Pada sebuah majlis pada tahun 1992 yang menandakan ulang tahun ke-300 Percubaan Penyihir Salem, jenazah Jacobs dikembalikan di Makam Perawat di Rumah Rebah Jururawat, yang dipelihara sebagai tempat bersejarah. [2]


George Jacobs Sr. Rumah, Laman

Pada 81, George Jacobs Sr. adalah salah satu yang tertua yang dituduh dan dihukum mati. Kisah kontemporari menggambarkannya sebagai tinggi dan tanpa gigi, dengan rambut putih panjang. Dia lumpuh, dan menggunakan dua tongkat kayu untuk membantunya berjalan.

Jacobs mempunyai ladang yang cukup besar yang disebut Northfields, yang terletak di sebelah utara Bandar Salem, separuh jalan ke Desa Salem. Dia memulakan dengan seluas sepuluh hektar pada tahun 1658. Dia dan keluarga Jacobs mengembangkan hak milik tanah selama ini. Rumahnya berdiri hingga tahun 1938, dalam pandangan penuh Laluan 114 di Danvers, di sebelah kanan jalan menuju dari Salem dan Peabody menuju Danversport. Harta tanahnya merosot ke Sungai Danvers.

Pada tahun 1692, George berkahwin dengan isteri keduanya Mary dan tinggal bersamanya dan cucu perempuannya yang berusia 17 tahun Margaret Jacobs di Northfields. Anaknya, George Jacobs Jr. dan isterinya Rebecca (saudara perempuan Daniel Andrews dari Salem Village) adalah ibu bapa Margaret. Mereka adalah jiran terdekat Daniel Andrews dan Peter dan Sarah Cloyce di Salem Village.

20 North Shore Avenue, Danvers, MA, Amerika Syarikat

20 North Shore Ave. Danvers, MA. Kediaman Peribadi. Tidak terbuka kepada orang ramai.

20 North Shore Avenue, Danvers, MA, Amerika Syarikat

Lebih Lanjut Mengenai George Jacobs Sr. Home, Site of

Pada Januari 1692, Jacobs menulis surat wasiatnya. Dia meninggalkan rumahnya kepada isterinya. Sekiranya kematiannya, anaknya George Jr akan mewarisi, diikuti oleh cucunya George, diikuti oleh puterinya Ann dan suaminya, John Andrew. Menurut wasiat, cucu perempuan Margaret akan mewarisi seekor lembu dan beberapa barang berharga dari bilik senjata.

Pembantu rumah tangga itu Sarah Churchill, berumur 20 tahun, yang merupakan orang pertama yang menuduh Jacobs Sr. melakukan sihir. Churchill adalah pelarian dari perang Orang Asli di Maine. Pada tahun 1692, ibunya Eleanor tinggal di Marblehead bersama suaminya Arthur Churchill. Menurut sejarawan Marilynne Roach, Sarah "dengan berhati-hati menghindari memanggilnya [Arthur] ayah." Eleanor telah melahirkan seorang bajingan di Maine, yang mana dia telah didenda pada tahun 1667. Mungkin perincian kelahiran Sarah juga tidak jelas?

Sarah Churchill pertama kali muncul dalam catatan sebagai salah satu penderitaan yang menderita. Ketika penderitaannya berhenti (tetangga bertanya-tanya, apakah majikannya memukul iblis dengan salah satu tongkatnya?), Hakim percaya dia telah menandatangani buku syaitan itu sendiri dan mengancamnya dengan penjara. Dalam pemeriksaan di gedung pertemuan desa pada 9 Mei, Sarah, yang takut akan hidupnya, tidak hanya mengaku membuat perjanjian dengan syaitan, tetapi menamakan majikannya, George Jacobs Sr., anaknya, George Jacobs Jr., dan cucunya Margaret, menuduh mereka semua berlatih ilmu sihir.

Kemungkinan George Jacobs Sr. mungkin menggunakan tongkat untuk mengalahkan Churchill sepertinya telah menjadi topik gosip, terutama di kalangan komuniti pelayan. Hamba Thomas Putnam, Mercy Lewis menuduh pemukul Jacobs Sr. dia dengan tongkatnya dan Mary Warren, yang bekerja untuk Proctors, mengatakan bahawa dia menyaksikan tontonan Jacobs Sr. mengalahkan Churchill di Ingersoll biasa. Jiran Mary Walcott juga mendakwa dia telah dikalahkan oleh tontonan Jacobs.

Pada 10 Mei, kedua George Jacobs Sr. dan cucunya Margaret ditangkap dan diangkut ke Bandar Salem. Jacobs Sr. diperiksa di Thomas Beadle's Tavern. Dia terkejut dengan tuduhan sihir itu. Sejak awalnya, dia ragu-ragu mengenai histeria sihir, dia meminta para hakim melihat keadaan dengan jelas. "Anda pajak saya untuk ahli sihir. Anda juga boleh memberi cukai kepada saya untuk buzzard! Saya tidak melakukan bahaya! " Sebagai tindak balas terhadap tuduhan Churchill bahawa penontonnya telah menyiksanya, Jacobs menjawab, "Baiklah, bakar saya atau gantung saya, saya akan berdiri di dalam kebenaran Kristus, saya tidak tahu apa-apa."

Di luar kedai pada hari itu, Sarah Churchill mengaku bahawa dia telah berbohong untuk menandatangani buku syaitan ketika dia bertemu dengan keponakan Nathaniel Ingersoll, Sarah, dan anak perempuan Jacobs Sr, Ann. Kesaksian Sarah Ingersoll kemudian mengenai pertemuan itu tidak diendahkan.

Pemeriksaan Jacobs Sr dilanjutkan di Beadle's Tavern pada 11 Mei, di mana dia dituduh oleh Ann Putnam Jr., Abigail Williams, Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, dan Elizabeth Hubbard. Mereka semua memberi kesaksian terhadap Jacobs dan cucunya Margaret. Margaret, yang sekarang mengaku telah melakukan sihir, yakin dia dapat menyelamatkan dirinya dengan mengakuinya, juga menamakan kakeknya, Pendeta George Burroughs, John Willard, dan Alice Parker. Margaret dan Jacobs Sr. kedua-duanya dihantar ke penjara Salem.

Sebelas penyihir tertuduh diangkut ke penjara Boston pada 12 Mei untuk menunggu perbicaraan mereka: George Jacobs Sr., Giles Corey, Bridget Bishop, Edward dan Sarah Bishop, Sarah Wildes, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, William Hobbs, Mary English, dan Mary Black . Dari jumlah tersebut, enam akhirnya akan dihukum mati.

Pada perbicaraan mereka pada 5 Ogos, George Jacobs Sr., John Willard, dan Pendeta George Burroughs semuanya didapati bersalah melakukan sihir. Pelayan Jacobs Sarah Churchill sekali lagi memberi keterangan terhadapnya, begitu juga dengan jirannya John DeRich, yang merupakan keponakan Elizabeth Proctor. Margaret Jacobs tidak memberi keterangan terhadap datuknya.

Atas rasa bersalah, Margaret mengaku kembali pengakuannya pada pertengahan Mei. Jacobs Sr., setelah disabitkan kesalahan dan kira-kira seminggu sebelum kematiannya, mengubah kehendaknya untuk menggambarkan keinginan terakhirnya. Perkataan Margaret telah sampai kepadanya dengan jelas. Jacobs Sr. memasukkan sebaris dalam kehendaknya sehingga cucu perempuannya mendapat perak tambahan £ 10. Isterinya Mary hanya akan mewarisi rumah tersebut sehingga dia berkahwin semula. Anaknya George Jr dikeluarkan dari wasiat sepenuhnya, kerana dia telah melarikan diri dari negara itu setelah dituduh. Sekarang adalah cucunya George yang akan mewarisi setelah Mary mempunyai suami baru. Anak perempuan Ann dan suaminya John Andrews juga dikeluarkan dari surat wasiat. Jacobs Sr. merasa mereka tidak menyokong ketika dia memerlukan.

Lima dijadualkan digantung pada 19 Ogos: George Jacobs Sr., Pendeta George Burroughs, John Proctor, John Willard, dan Martha Carrier. Malam sebelum hukuman mati, Margaret Jacobs dapat berbicara dengan Pendeta Burroughs di penjara Salem dan memohon pengampunannya. Dia mengaku bersalah dan malu kerana menuduhnya, Willard, dan datuknya sendiri. Burroughs memberikan pengampunan dan berdoa dengannya.

Penggantung di Proctor's Ledge di Gallows Hill berlaku seperti yang dirancang pada 19hb. Ia cukup ramai yang melihat acara tersebut. Bagaimanapun, "Raja penyihir," Pendeta Burroughs, akan dihukum mati pada hari ini seperti juga "Ratu di Neraka," Martha Carrier. Pendeta Cotton Mather bahkan melakukan perjalanan dari Boston untuk menyaksikan gantung.

Diyakini para penyihir tidak dapat membacakan Doa Tuhan, tetapi Burroughs membacanya dengan sempurna, menimbulkan keributan di khalayak ramai. Sheriff George Corwin mengawasi pelaksanaan dan pengebumian orang mati di kubur cetek di lokasi. Tradisi berpendapat bahawa ahli keluarga Jacobs dan Proctor mengumpulkan mayat orang yang mereka sayangi pada malam itu dan menguburkannya di harta benda mereka sendiri.

Adalah undang-undang pada hari itu bahawa sheriff dapat merampas harta peribadi orang yang dihukum, yang bertujuan untuk menanggung kos penjara dan menolong keluarga. Dari Jacobs, Sheriff George Corwin mengambil ternakan, jerami, produk, barang-barang rumah tangga, dan perhiasan - bahkan cincin perkahwinan isteri Mary. Dia ditinggalkan miskin dan bergantung pada kebaikan jirannya untuk bertahan hidup. Mary akhirnya mendapatkan kembali cincinnya, tetapi keadaan keluarga Jacobs semakin berkurang sejak itu.

Setelah kematiannya, surat wasiat George Jacobs Sr. tidak diendahkan di mahkamah. George Jr kembali dari bersembunyi pada bulan Jun 1693 dan mengambil alih ladang itu, bertentangan dengan permintaan terakhir ayahnya. John Andrews (yang juga telah dilewati kehendak) menyelesaikan harta tanah.

Margaret sakit pada masa perbicaraannya dan melarikan diri dari hukuman gantung. Pelaksanaan terakhir dilakukan pada 22 September dan Mahkamah Oyer dan Terminer dibubarkan pada bulan Oktober. Margaret dipenjara selama tujuh bulan sehingga orang Samaria yang baik membayar yuran penjara untuk membebaskannya. Menurut sejarawan Frances Hill, dia kemudian menuntut wang itu, yang akhirnya dibayar oleh Margaret.

Nota tambahan: Selepas kematian George Jacobs Sr., isterinya Mary berkahwin semula. Suami barunya adalah John Wildes, duda Sarah Wildes, yang digantung pada sihir pada 19 Julai.

Catatan tambahan: Pada tahun 1864, keluarga Fowler, yang telah membeli sebilangan harta tanah Jacobs, menemui mayat-mayat yang terbongkar di kubur yang ditandai dengan dua batu tua. Kerangka tanpa gigi dan tinggi nampaknya bukti bahawa keluarga Jacobs telah mengambil mayatnya setelah digantung dan menguburkannya di Northfields. Tengkorak itu dikembalikan semula. Jacobs digali lagi pada tahun 1950-an oleh bandar Danvers. Disimpan selama beberapa dekad, jenazahnya dikebumikan untuk kali terakhir mereka pada tahun 1992 di Rebecca Nurse Homestead. Sebuah batu menandai kuburnya, dengan petikan dari pemeriksaannya yang lama: "Baiklah, bakar aku atau gantunglah aku, aku akan berpegang pada kebenaran Kristus."

20 North Shore Ave. hari ini. Sebuah kediaman persendirian terletak di lokasi di mana rumah George Jacobs Sr. pernah berdiri, dalam pembangunan perumahan yang dibina pada tahun 1950-an.

Melihat ke arah North Shore Ave. dari laman Jacobs ke Sungai Danvers dari kejauhan.

Jacobs Ave., peringatan keluarga yang pernah tinggal di tanah ini.

Satu lagi tanda keluarga Jacobs di sepanjang Sungai Danvers.

Gambar Frank Cousins ​​dari rumah George Jacobs Sr., sekitar tahun 1891.

Rumah Jacobs Sr. pada hari-hari terakhirnya. Gambar oleh Arthur C. Haskell untuk Kajian Bangunan Amerika Bersejarah, sekitar tahun 1935.

Makam George Jacobs Sr. di Rebecca Nurse Homestead.

Bangku George Jacobs Sr. di Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem.

Poskad vintaj rumah George Jacobs, dengan Sungai Danvers yang kelihatan di latar belakang. Koleksi peribadi.


Kandungan

Walaupun percubaan penyihir telah mulai memudar di sebahagian besar Eropah pada pertengahan abad ke-17, mereka terus berlanjutan di pinggiran Eropah dan di Jajahan Amerika. Peristiwa pada tahun 1692/1693 di Salem menjadi ledakan sekejap semacam histeria di Dunia Baru, sementara praktik ini sudah semakin pudar di kebanyakan Eropah.

Pada tahun 1668, di Menentang Sadducisme Moden, [11] Joseph Glanvill mendakwa bahawa dia dapat membuktikan adanya penyihir dan hantu dari alam ghaib. Glanvill menulis mengenai "penolakan kebangkitan badan, dan roh [supernatural]." [12]

Dalam risalahnya, Glanvill mendakwa bahawa lelaki cerdik harus mempercayai penyihir dan penampilan jika mereka meragui kenyataan roh, mereka tidak hanya menolak setan tetapi juga Tuhan yang maha kuasa. Glanvill ingin membuktikan bahawa perkara ghaib tidak dapat dinafikan orang-orang yang menafikan penampakan dianggap bidaah, kerana itu juga menyangkal kepercayaan mereka terhadap malaikat. [12] Karya oleh lelaki seperti Glanvill dan Cotton Mather cuba membuktikan bahawa "setan masih hidup." [13]

Tuduhan

Perbicaraan dimulakan setelah orang-orang dituduh melakukan sihir, terutama oleh gadis-gadis remaja seperti Elizabeth Hubbard, 17, dan juga beberapa yang lebih muda. [14] Dorothy Good berusia empat atau lima tahun ketika dia dituduh melakukan sihir. [15]

Merakam pelaksanaan sihir di New England

Pelaksanaan sihir terawal yang dicatatkan adalah pelaksanaan Alse Young pada tahun 1647 di Hartford, Connecticut, permulaan Percubaan Penyihir Connecticut yang berlangsung hingga 1663. Sejarawan Clarence F. Jewett memasukkan senarai orang lain yang dieksekusi di New England dalam bukunya pada tahun 1881. [16]

Konteks politik

New England telah diselesaikan oleh para penentang agama yang berusaha membangun sebuah masyarakat yang berdasarkan Alkitab sesuai dengan disiplin pilihan mereka sendiri. [17] Piagam Kerajaan 1629 yang asli dari Massachusetts Bay Colony dikosongkan pada tahun 1684, [18] setelah itu Raja James II melantik Sir Edmund Andros sebagai gabenor Dominion of New England. Andros digulingkan pada tahun 1689 setelah "Revolusi Gemilang" di England menggantikan James II Katolik dengan penguasa Protestan William dan Mary. Simon Bradstreet dan Thomas Danforth, pemimpin terakhir koloni di bawah piagam lama, menyambung semula jawatan mereka sebagai gabenor dan timbalan gabenor, tetapi tidak mempunyai kuasa perlembagaan untuk memerintah kerana piagam lama telah dikosongkan.

Piagam baru untuk wilayah Massachusetts Bay yang diperbesarkan diberi persetujuan akhir di England pada 16 Oktober 1691. Peningkatan Mather telah berusaha mendapatkan piagam selama empat tahun, dengan William Phips sering bergabung dengannya di London dan membantunya mendapatkan kemasukan ke Whitehall . [19] Meningkatkan Mather telah menerbitkan sebuah buku mengenai ilmu sihir pada tahun 1684 dan anaknya Cotton Mather menerbitkan satu pada tahun 1689. Tingkatkan Mather mengeluarkan buku edisi London anaknya pada tahun 1690. Kenaikan Mather mengaku telah memilih semua lelaki untuk dimasukkan dalam kerajaan baru. Berita mengenai piagam Mather dan pelantikan Phips sebagai gabenor baru telah sampai ke Boston pada akhir Januari, [20] dan salinan piagam baru itu sampai ke Boston pada 8 Februari 1692. [21] Phips tiba di Boston pada 14 Mei [22] ] dan dilantik sebagai gabenor dua hari kemudian, bersama Leftenan Gabenor William Stoughton. [23] Salah satu perintah perniagaan pertama untuk gubernur dan dewan baru pada 27 Mei 1692, adalah pencalonan resmi hakim perdamaian daerah, sheriff, dan penugasan Mahkamah Khas Oyer dan Terminer untuk menangani besar bilangan orang yang "mengerumuni" penjara. [24]

Konteks tempatan

Salem Village (sekarang Danvers, Massachusetts) terkenal dengan penduduknya yang rapuh, yang mempunyai banyak perselisihan dalaman, dan untuk pertikaian antara kampung dan Salem Town (Salem sekarang). Hujah mengenai hak milik, hak meragut, dan hak istimewa gereja banyak terjadi, dan jiran menganggap penduduk sebagai "pertengkaran." Pada tahun 1672, penduduk kampung telah memilih untuk mengambil menteri mereka sendiri, selain dari Bandar Salem. Dua menteri pertama, James Bayley (1673–79) dan George Burroughs (1680–83), masing-masing tinggal beberapa tahun sahaja, berangkat setelah jemaat gagal membayar penuh. (Burroughs kemudian ditangkap di puncak histeria sihir dan digantung sebagai penyihir pada bulan Ogos 1692.)

Walaupun hak para menteri ditegakkan oleh Mahkamah Agung dan paroki itu diperingatkan, masing-masing dua menteri masih memilih untuk pergi. Menteri ketiga, Deodat Lawson (1684–88), tinggal sebentar, pergi setelah gereja di Salem menolak untuk menahbiskannya — dan karena itu tidak mengenai masalah dengan jemaat. Paroki itu tidak setuju mengenai pilihan Salem Village sebagai Samuel Parris sebagai menteri pertama yang ditahbiskan. Pada 18 Jun 1689, penduduk kampung bersetuju untuk menyewa Parris dengan harga £ 66 setiap tahun, "satu pertiga wang dan dua bahagian ketiga dalam peruntukan," dan penggunaan pengampunan. [25]

Pada 10 Oktober 1689, bagaimanapun, mereka memperoleh keuntungannya, memilih untuk memberikannya hak pengampunan dan dua ekar (0,8 hektar) tanah. [26] Ini bertentangan dengan resolusi desa tahun 1681 yang menyatakan bahawa "tidak sah bagi penduduk kampung ini untuk menyampaikan rumah atau tanah atau masalah lain milik Kementerian kepada orang atau orang tertentu: bukan untuk sebab apa pun dengan undi atau cara lain ". [27]

Meskipun nasib menteri sebelumnya dan tingkat perselisihan di Desa Salem adalah alasan yang tepat untuk berhati-hati dalam menerima kedudukan itu, Pendeta Parris meningkatkan perpecahan desa dengan menunda penerimaannya. Dia sepertinya tidak dapat menyelesaikan perselisihan paroki barunya: dengan sengaja mencari "tingkah laku tidak adil" di jemaatnya dan membuat anggota gereja dalam kedudukan yang baik menderita penebusan orang ramai atas pelanggaran kecil, dia memberikan sumbangan besar terhadap ketegangan di dalam desa. Pertengkarannya meningkat tanpa henti. Ahli sejarah Marion Starkey menunjukkan bahawa, dalam suasana ini, konflik serius mungkin tidak dapat dielakkan. [28]

Konteks agama

Sebelum pergolakan perlembagaan pada tahun 1680-an, pemerintah Massachusetts telah dikuasai oleh para pemimpin sekular Puritan yang konservatif. Sementara Puritans dan Gereja England sama-sama mempunyai pengaruh yang sama dalam Calvinisme, Puritans telah menentang banyak tradisi Gereja England, termasuk penggunaan Buku Doa Bersama, penggunaan jubah pendeta selama perkhidmatan, penggunaan tanda salib semasa pembaptisan, dan berlutut untuk menerima persekutuan, yang semuanya mereka yakini sebagai tanaman popi. Raja Charles I memusuhi pandangan ini, dan para pegawai gereja Anglikan berusaha untuk menindas pandangan menentang ini pada tahun 1620-an dan 1630-an. Beberapa orang Puritan dan minoriti agama lain telah berlindung di Belanda tetapi akhirnya banyak yang melakukan migrasi besar ke penjajah Amerika Utara untuk menubuhkan masyarakat mereka sendiri. [29]

Pendatang ini, yang kebanyakannya terdiri dari keluarga, menubuhkan beberapa koloni paling awal di New England, di mana Massachusetts Bay Colony adalah yang terbesar dan paling penting dari segi ekonomi. Mereka bertujuan untuk membina masyarakat berdasarkan kepercayaan agama mereka. Pemimpin kolonial dipilih oleh orang-orang bebas dari jajahan, orang-orang yang telah menjalani pengalaman beragama mereka secara formal diperiksa dan telah diterima masuk ke salah satu jemaat Puritan jajahan itu. Kepimpinan kolonial adalah anggota jemaat mereka yang terkemuka dan selalu berunding dengan menteri-menteri tempatan mengenai isu-isu yang dihadapi oleh jajahan. [30]

Pada awal 1640-an, Inggeris meletus dalam perang saudara. Anggota Parlimen yang dikuasai oleh Puritan muncul sebagai pemenang, dan Mahkota digantikan oleh Protektorat Oliver Cromwell pada tahun 1653. Kegagalannya menyebabkan pemulihan orde lama di bawah Charles II. Penghijrahan ke New England perlahan pada tahun-tahun ini. Di Massachusetts, kelas pedagang yang berjaya mula berkembang yang kurang bermotivasi agama daripada peneroka awal koloni. [31]

Konteks gender

Sebilangan besar orang yang dituduh dan disabitkan dengan sihir adalah wanita (sekitar 78%). [32] Secara keseluruhan, kepercayaan Puritan dan budaya New England yang berlaku adalah bahawa wanita secara semula jadi berdosa dan lebih mudah terkena hukuman daripada lelaki. [33] Sepanjang kehidupan seharian mereka, orang Puritan, terutama wanita Puritan, secara aktif berusaha menggagalkan usaha Iblis untuk mengalahkan mereka dan jiwa mereka. Memang, orang Puritan percaya bahawa lelaki dan wanita sama di mata Tuhan, tetapi tidak di mata Iblis. Jiwa wanita dilihat tidak dilindungi di badan mereka yang lemah dan rentan. Beberapa faktor mungkin menjelaskan mengapa wanita lebih cenderung mengakui kesalahan sihir daripada lelaki. Sejarawan Elizabeth Reis menegaskan bahawa ada yang mungkin percaya bahawa mereka telah benar-benar menyerah kepada Iblis, dan yang lain mungkin percaya bahawa mereka melakukannya sementara. Namun, karena mereka yang mengaku disatukan kembali ke dalam masyarakat, beberapa wanita mungkin telah mengaku untuk menyelamatkan nyawa mereka sendiri. [33]

Pertengkaran dengan jiran sering menimbulkan tuduhan sihir. Salah satu contohnya ialah Abigail Faulkner, yang dituduh pada tahun 1692. Faulkner mengaku dia "marah dengan apa yang dikatakan oleh orang-orang," dan Iblis mungkin mengalahkannya buat sementara waktu, sehingga menyebabkan bahaya kepada jiran-jirannya. [34] Wanita yang tidak mematuhi norma masyarakat Puritan lebih cenderung menjadi sasaran tuduhan, terutama mereka yang belum menikah atau tidak mempunyai anak. [35]

Menerbitkan ilmu sihir

Cotton Mather, seorang menteri Gereja Utara Boston, adalah penerbit risalah yang produktif, termasuk beberapa yang menyatakan kepercayaannya pada ilmu sihir. Dalam bukunya Ketentuan yang Tidak dapat Dikira Berkaitan dengan Sihir dan Kekayaan (1689), Mather menjelaskan "pemerhatian orakularnya" dan bagaimana "ilmu sihir yang luar biasa" telah mempengaruhi anak-anak tukang batu Boston, John Goodwin. [36]

Mather menggambarkan bagaimana anak sulung Goodwins telah tergoda oleh syaitan dan mencuri linen dari mesin cuci Goody Glover. [37] Glover, keturunan Katolik Ireland, disifatkan sebagai wanita tua yang tidak senang dan digambarkan oleh suaminya sebagai penyihir, inilah sebabnya mengapa dia dituduh melakukan mantra pada anak-anak Goodwin. Setelah acara itu, empat dari enam anak Goodwin mulai merasa ganjil, atau apa yang disebut oleh beberapa orang sebagai "penyakit yang mengejutkan." Manifestasi yang dikaitkan dengan penyakit ini dengan cepat dikaitkan dengan ilmu sihir. Gejalanya termasuk sakit leher dan punggung, lidah ditarik dari kerongkongnya, dan jeritan kuat secara beramai-ramai. Gejala-gejala ini mendorong kegilaan pada tahun 1692. [36]

Acara awal

Di Desa Salem pada bulan Februari 1692, Betty Parris (umur sembilan tahun) dan sepupunya Abigail Williams (usia 11), anak perempuan dan keponakannya, masing-masing, dari Pendeta Samuel Parris, mulai cocok digambarkan sebagai "di luar kekuatan epilepsi atau penyakit semula jadi berlaku "oleh John Hale, menteri bandar Beverly yang berdekatan. [38] Gadis-gadis itu menjerit, melemparkan barang-barang di dalam ruangan, mengucapkan suara aneh, merangkak di bawah perabot, dan mengadap diri mereka ke posisi yang aneh, menurut laporan saksi mata Pendeta Deodat Lawson, mantan menteri di Desa Salem. [39]

Gadis-gadis itu mengadu dicubit dan dicucuk dengan pin. Seorang doktor, yang secara historis dianggap sebagai William Griggs, [14] tidak dapat menemukan bukti fizikal mengenai penyakit apa pun. Wanita muda lain di kampung mula menunjukkan tingkah laku yang serupa. Ketika Lawson berkhotbah sebagai tetamu di gedung pertemuan Desa Salem, dia terganggu beberapa kali oleh ledakan orang-orang yang menderita. [40]

Tiga orang pertama yang dituduh dan ditangkap kerana diduga menderita Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, 12 tahun Ann Putnam, Jr, dan Elizabeth Hubbard, [14] adalah Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, dan Tituba — dengan Tituba menjadi yang pertama. Sebilangan sejarawan percaya bahawa tuduhan oleh Ann Putnam, Jr menunjukkan bahawa perselisihan keluarga mungkin menjadi penyebab utama percubaan penyihir. Pada masa itu, persaingan sengit sedang berlangsung antara keluarga Putnam dan Porter, yang sangat mempolarisasi penduduk Salem. Warga sering kali melakukan perdebatan hangat, yang meningkat menjadi pertempuran penuh, hanya berdasarkan pendapat mereka tentang perseteruan. [41]

Bagus adalah seorang wanita miskin yang dituduh melakukan sihir kerana reputasinya. Pada perbicaraannya, dia dituduh menolak cita-cita Puritan tentang kawalan diri dan disiplin ketika dia memilih untuk menyiksa dan "mencerca [anak-anak] daripada memimpin mereka ke jalan keselamatan". [42]

Sarah Osborne jarang menghadiri perjumpaan gereja. Dia dituduh sebagai ahli sihir kerana orang Puritan percaya bahawa Osborne mempunyai kepentingan sendiri setelah dia berkahwin semula dengan hamba yang diberi jaminan. Warganegara di bandar itu tidak menyetujui dia berusaha mengawal harta pusaka anaknya dari perkahwinannya sebelumnya. [43]

Tituba, seorang wanita India Amerika Selatan yang diperbudak dari Hindia Barat, mungkin menjadi sasaran kerana perbezaan etniknya dari kebanyakan penduduk kampung yang lain. Dia dituduh menarik gadis seperti Abigail Williams dan Betty Parris dengan kisah-kisah terpesona dari Malleus Maleficarum. Kisah-kisah mengenai perjumpaan seksual dengan setan, mempengaruhi pemikiran lelaki, dan peramal dikatakan dapat merangsang imaginasi gadis-gadis dan menjadikan Tituba sebagai sasaran tuduhan yang jelas. [44]

Setiap wanita ini adalah jenis orang buangan dan memperlihatkan banyak sifat watak khas "suspek biasa" kerana tuduhan sihir yang ditinggalkan untuk mempertahankan diri. Dibawa di hadapan hakim tempatan atas aduan sihir, mereka diinterogasi selama beberapa hari, bermula pada 1 Mac 1692, dan kemudian dihantar ke penjara. [45]

Pada bulan Mac, yang lain dituduh melakukan sihir: Martha Corey, anak Dorothy Good, dan Rebecca Nurse di Salem Village, dan Rachel Clinton di Ipswich yang berdekatan. Martha Corey telah menyatakan keraguan tentang kredibiliti tuduhan gadis-gadis itu dan dengan itu menarik perhatian. Tuduhan terhadapnya dan Rebecca Nurse sangat menyusahkan masyarakat kerana Martha Corey adalah anggota Gereja yang penuh perjanjian di Salem Village, begitu juga dengan Rebecca Nurse di Gereja di Bandar Salem. Sekiranya orang-orang terhormat seperti itu boleh menjadi penyihir, orang bandar berfikir, maka siapa pun boleh menjadi penyihir, dan keanggotaan gereja tidak ada perlindungan dari tuduhan. Dorothy Good, anak perempuan Sarah Good, baru berusia empat tahun tetapi tidak dikecualikan daripada disoal oleh hakim bahawa jawapannya ditafsirkan sebagai pengakuan yang melibatkan ibunya. Di Ipswich, Rachel Clinton ditangkap kerana melakukan sihir pada akhir Mac atas tuduhan bebas yang tidak berkaitan dengan penderitaan gadis-gadis di Desa Salem. [46]

Tuduhan dan pemeriksaan di hadapan hakim tempatan

Ketika Sarah Cloyce (saudari Jururawat) dan Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor ditangkap pada bulan April, mereka dibawa ke hadapan John Hathorne dan Jonathan Corwin dalam pertemuan di Salem Town. Kedua-dua lelaki itu adalah hakim tempatan dan juga anggota Majlis Gabenor. Hadir untuk pemeriksaan tersebut adalah Wakil Gabenor Thomas Danforth, dan Pembantu Samuel Sewall, Samuel Appleton, James Russell dan Isaac Addington. Semasa prosiding, bantahan oleh suami Elizabeth, John Proctor, mengakibatkan penangkapannya pada hari itu. [47]

Dalam seminggu, Giles Corey (suami Martha dan anggota gereja yang dijanjikan di Bandar Salem), Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Mary Warren (pelayan di rumah tangga Proctor dan kadang-kadang penuduh), dan Deliverance Hobbs (ibu tiri Abigail Hobbs), ditangkap dan diperiksa. Abigail Hobbs, Mary Warren, dan Deliverance Hobbs semuanya mengaku dan mula menamakan orang tambahan sebagai rakan sekerja. Lebih banyak tangkapan diikuti: Sarah Wildes, William Hobbs (suami kepada Deliverance dan ayah Abigail), Nehemia Abbott Jr, Mary Eastey (kakak Cloyce dan Jururawat), Edward Bishop, Jr dan isterinya Sarah Bishop, dan Mary English.

Pada 30 April, Pendeta George Burroughs, Lydia Dustin, Susannah Martin, Dorcas Hoar, Sarah Morey, dan Philip English (suami Mary) ditangkap. Nehemia Abbott, Jr dibebaskan kerana para penuduh bersetuju bahawa dia bukan orang yang menjadi mangsa mereka. Mary Eastey dibebaskan selama beberapa hari setelah penangkapan awalnya kerana para penuduh gagal mengesahkan bahawa dialah yang telah menderita mereka, dia ditangkap lagi ketika para penuduh mempertimbangkan semula. Pada bulan Mei, tuduhan terus menerus masuk, tetapi beberapa suspek mula menghindari kebimbangan. Beberapa waran dikeluarkan sebelum John Willard dan Elizabeth Colson ditangkap George Jacobs, Jr dan Daniel Andrews tidak ditangkap. Hingga saat ini, semua proses siasatan dijalankan, tetapi pada 27 Mei 1692, William Phips memerintahkan penubuhan Mahkamah Khas Oyer dan Terminer untuk daerah Suffolk, Essex dan Middlesex untuk mendakwa kes mereka yang dipenjara. Waran dikeluarkan untuk lebih ramai orang. Sarah Osborne, salah satu daripada tiga orang pertama yang dituduh, mati di penjara pada 10 Mei 1692.

Waran dikeluarkan untuk 36 orang lagi, dengan pemeriksaan terus berlangsung di Salem Village: Sarah Dustin (anak perempuan Lydia Dustin), Ann Sears, Bethiah Carter Sr. dan anak perempuannya Bethiah Carter Jr., George Jacobs, Sr. dan cucunya Margaret Jacobs, John Willard, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Abigail Soames, George Jacobs, Jr (anak George Jacobs, Sr. dan bapa Margaret Jacobs), Daniel Andrew, Rebecca Jacobs (isteri George Jacobs, Jr. dan adik perempuannya) Daniel Andrew), Sarah Buckley dan anak perempuannya Mary Witheridge. [48]

Juga termasuk Elizabeth Colson, Elizabeth Hart, Thomas Farrar, Sr., Roger Toothaker, Sarah Proctor (anak perempuan John dan Elizabeth Proctor), Sarah Bassett (kakak ipar Elizabeth Proctor), Susannah Roots, Mary DeRich (saudara perempuan lain mertua Elizabeth Proctor), Sarah Pease, Elizabeth Cary, Martha Carrier, Elizabeth Fosdick, Wilmot Redd, Sarah Rice, Elizabeth Howe, Kapten John Alden (anak John Alden dan Priscilla Mullins), William Proctor (anak lelaki John dan Elizabeth Proctor), John Flood, Mary Toothaker (isteri Roger Toothaker dan saudara perempuan Martha Carrier) dan anak perempuannya Margaret Toothaker, dan Arthur Abbott. Ketika Mahkamah Oyer dan Terminer bersidang pada akhir Mei, jumlah orang yang ditahan adalah 62. [49]

Cotton Mather menulis kepada salah seorang hakim, John Richards, anggota jemaatnya, pada 31 Mei 1692, [50] menyatakan sokongannya terhadap pendakwaan, tetapi mengingatkannya,

[D] o tidak memberi lebih banyak tekanan pada bukti spektrum murni daripada yang akan ditanggungnya. Adalah sangat pasti bahawa Iblis kadang-kadang mewakili Bentuk orang yang bukan hanya tidak bersalah, tetapi juga sangat berbudi luhur. Walaupun saya percaya bahawa Tuhan yang adil biasanya memberikan jalan untuk pembenaran cepat terhadap orang-orang yang dianiaya. [51]

Pendakwaan rasmi: Mahkamah Oyer dan Terminer

Mahkamah Oyer dan Terminer bersidang di Bandar Salem pada 2 Jun 1692, dengan William Stoughton, Leftenan Gabenor yang baru, sebagai Ketua Majistret, Thomas Newton sebagai Pengacara Mahkota yang mendakwa kes-kes tersebut, dan Stephen Sewall sebagai kerani. Kes Bridget Bishop adalah yang pertama dibawa ke juri agung, yang menyokong semua dakwaan terhadapnya. Bishop digambarkan tidak menjalani gaya hidup Puritan, kerana dia mengenakan pakaian hitam dan kostum aneh, yang bertentangan dengan kod Puritan. Ketika dia diperiksa sebelum persidangannya, Bishop ditanya tentang mantelnya, yang dengan canggung "dipotong atau robek dengan dua cara". [52]

Ini, bersama dengan gaya hidupnya yang "tidak bermoral", menegaskan kepada juri bahawa Bishop adalah seorang penyihir. Dia menjalani perbicaraan pada hari yang sama dan dihukum. Pada 3 Jun, juri agung mengesahkan dakwaan terhadap Rebecca Nurse dan John Willard, tetapi mereka tidak segera diadili, dengan alasan yang tidak jelas. Uskup dihukum gantung pada 10 Jun 1692.

Segera setelah pelaksanaan ini, pengadilan ditangguhkan selama 20 hari (hingga 30 Juni) sementara meminta nasihat dari menteri-menteri New England yang paling berpengaruh "mengenai keadaan ketika mereka berdiri." [53] [54] Respons kolektif mereka kembali bertarikh 15 Jun dan disusun oleh Cotton Mather:

  1. Keadaan jiran tetangga kita yang menderita, yang sekarang menderita oleh penganiayaan dari dunia yang tidak kelihatan, kita merasa sangat menyedihkan, sehingga kita menganggap keadaan mereka memerlukan pertolongan yang paling tinggi dari semua orang dalam beberapa kemampuan mereka.
  2. We cannot but, with all thankfulness, acknowledge the success which the merciful God has given unto the sedulous and assiduous endeavours of our honourable rulers, to detect the abominable witchcrafts which have been committed in the country, humbly praying, that the discovery of those mysterious and mischievous wickednesses may be perfected.
  3. We judge that, in the prosecution of these and all such witchcrafts, there is need of a very critical and exquisite caution, lest by too much credulity for things received only upon the Devil's authority, there be a door opened for a long train of miserable consequences, and Satan get an advantage over us for we should not be ignorant of his devices.
  4. As in complaints upon witchcrafts, there may be matters of inquiry which do not amount unto matters of presumption, and there may be matters of presumption which yet may not be matters of conviction, so it is necessary, that all proceedings thereabout be managed with an exceeding tenderness towards those that may be complained of, especially if they have been persons formerly of an unblemished reputation.
  5. When the first inquiry is made into the circumstances of such as may lie under the just suspicion of witchcrafts, we could wish that there may be admitted as little as is possible of such noise, company and openness as may too hastily expose them that are examined, and that there may no thing be used as a test for the trial of the suspected, the lawfulness whereof may be doubted among the people of God but that the directions given by such judicious writers as Perkins and Bernard [be consulted in such a case].
  6. Presumptions whereupon persons may be committed, and, much more, convictions whereupon persons may be condemned as guilty of witchcrafts, ought certainly to be more considerable than barely the accused person's being represented by a specter unto the afflicted inasmuch as it is an undoubted and notorious thing, that a demon may, by God's permission, appear, even to ill purposes, in the shape of an innocent, yea, and a virtuous man. Nor can we esteem alterations made in the sufferers, by a look or touch of the accused, to be an infallible evidence of guilt, but frequently liable to be abused by the Devil's legerdemains.
  7. We know not whether some remarkable affronts given to the Devils by our disbelieving those testimonies whose whole force and strength is from them alone, may not put a period unto the progress of the dreadful calamity begun upon us, in the accusations of so many persons, whereof some, we hope, are yet clear from the great transgression laid unto their charge.
  8. Nevertheless, we cannot but humbly recommend unto the government, the speedy and vigorous prosecution of such as have rendered themselves obnoxious, according to the direction given in the laws of God, and the wholesome statutes of the English nation, for the detection of witchcrafts.

Hutchinson sums the letter, "The two first and the last sections of this advice took away the force of all the others, and the prosecutions went on with more vigor than before." (Reprinting the letter years later in Magnalia, Cotton Mather left out these "two first and the last" sections.) Major Nathaniel Saltonstall, Esq., resigned from the court on or about June 16, presumably dissatisfied with the letter and that it had not outright barred the admission of spectral evidence. According to Upham, Saltonstall deserves the credit for "being the only public man of his day who had the sense or courage to condemn the proceedings, at the start." (chapt. VII) More people were accused, arrested and examined, but now in Salem Town, by former local magistrates John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and Bartholomew Gedney, who had become judges of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Suspect Roger Toothaker died in prison on June 16, 1692.

From June 30 through early July, grand juries endorsed indictments against Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor, Martha Carrier, Sarah Wildes and Dorcas Hoar. Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin and Sarah Wildes, along with Rebecca Nurse, went to trial at this time, where they were found guilty. All five women were executed by hanging on July 19, 1692. In mid-July, the constable in Andover invited the afflicted girls from Salem Village to visit with his wife to try to determine who was causing her afflictions. Ann Foster, her daughter Mary Lacey Sr., and granddaughter Mary Lacey Jr. all confessed to being witches. Anthony Checkley was appointed by Governor Phips to replace Thomas Newton as the Crown's Attorney when Newton took an appointment in New Hampshire.

In August, grand juries indicted George Burroughs, Mary Eastey, Martha Corey and George Jacobs, Sr.. Trial juries convicted Martha Carrier, George Jacobs, Sr., George Burroughs, John Willard, Elizabeth Proctor, and John Proctor. Elizabeth Proctor was given a temporary stay of execution because she was pregnant. On August 19, 1692, Martha Carrier, George Jacobs Sr., George Burroughs, John Willard, and John Proctor were executed.

Mr. Burroughs was carried in a Cart with others, through the streets of Salem, to Execution. When he was upon the Ladder, he made a speech for the clearing of his Innocency, with such Solemn and Serious Expressions as were to the Admiration of all present his Prayer (which he concluded by repeating the Lord's Prayer) [as witches were not supposed to be able to recite] was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness as such fervency of spirit, as was very Affecting, and drew Tears from many, so that if seemed to some that the spectators would hinder the execution. The accusers said the black Man [Devil] stood and dictated to him. As soon as he was turned off [hanged], Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a Horse, addressed himself to the People, partly to declare that he [Mr. Burroughs] was no ordained Minister, partly to possess the People of his guilt, saying that the devil often had been transformed into the Angel of Light. And this did somewhat appease the People, and the Executions went on when he [Mr. Burroughs] was cut down, he was dragged by a Halter to a Hole, or Grave, between the Rocks, about two feet deep his Shirt and Breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of Trousers of one Executed put on his lower parts: he was so put in, together with Willard and Carrier, that one of his Hands, and his Chin, and a Foot of one of them, was left uncovered.


(Indictment of George Jacobs, Sr., for Afflicting Mercy Lewis, )

Anno Regis et Reginae Willm et Mariae nunc Angliae &c Quarto: Essex: ss

The Jurors for our Sovereigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen prsents. That George Jacobs Sen'r of Salem in the County of Essex the 11th day of May in the fourth Year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady William and Mary by the Grace of God of England Scottland France and Ireland King and Queen Defend'rs of the faith &c. and Divers other Dayes and times as well before as after certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcrafts and sorceries Wickedly and felloniously hath used Practised and Exercised at and within the Towneship of Salem in the county of Essex, aforesaid in, upon, and ag't: one Marcy Lewis, of Salem village Singlewoman by which said wicked arts the said Marcy Lewis the 11th day of May in the fourth year abovesaid and Divers other Dayes and times as well before as after was and is Tortured Afflicted Pined consumed wasted and Tormented and also for sundry other acts of witchcraft by said George Jacobs Committed and Done before and since that time ag't: the Peace of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen their Crowne and Dignity and ag't the forme of the Statutes in that Case made and provided:

(Reverse) George Jacobs No (2) Indictment Ignoramus

( Essex County Court Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 1, no. 222. )


Photo, Print, Drawing Trial of George Jacobs of Salem for witchcraft, Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.

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he word “Puritans” often triggers the instant response of “witch burners“ among both casual and professional historians of American history. Who the Puritans actually were, and the details of the civilization they established in New England, seems to be a blank slate, but for one incident which occurred in the third generation of the English settlers. On September 22, 1692 nine men and women were executed by local government authorities in Salem, Massachusetts for practicing “witchcraft.” Before the accusations and trials came to an end, a hundred people had been accused, twenty were executed and five died in jail. What is the truth behind the “Salem Witch Trials?”


An accused woman defends herself before the judge while a girl — presumed to be Mary Walcott (1675-c.1752), one of the “afflicted” witnesses — falls to the floor in a fit

The tragedy of 1692 did not happen overnight or in isolation to the situation in Europe. Salem had been founded early in the New England Puritan hegira and had become the most important port in Massachusetts. The town people and the church established there exhibited signs of spiritual decline and contention for decades, although the town prospered economically. Factions developed over land-use and politics, creating bitterness and family feuds, which festered. The church could hardly keep a pastor in place and the current one was the worst of the lot. The Rev. Samuel Parris had failed in business and then pursued the Gospel ministry. He rarely seemed happy and complained from the pulpit about the inadequacy and slowness of his pay. Church discipline was all but non-existent.


Examination of a Witch,
by Thompkins H. Matteson (1813-1884)


Trial of George Jacobs, August 5, 1692,
by Thompkins H. Matteson

The slave of the Parris family, a Caribbean women named Tituba, met with a group of adolescent girls from the Parris family and neighboring households, in the pastor’s cellar, teaching them secrets of occultic practices. The girls had visions, saw apparitions and fell down in fits, sometimes in church. They began accusing certain women and men of Salem of bizarre activities and of appearing in weird forms in the girls’ bedrooms, flying around the room, causing them to have fits, etc. Because the Puritans believed that real spiritual warfare could be manifested in the world, the accusations were taken seriously and the accused were arrested and put on trial.


Tituba was said to have been “learned in the practices of sorcery”


Mary Walcott, called to the witness stand, was among the principal accusers

The court cases did not follow the precedents of English common law nor biblical law principles. Because witchcraft and consorting with the devil or demonic forces was a capital crime, two witnesses should have been required for the accused to go to trial. One hysterical twelve-year-old or eighteen-year-old for that matter, regaling the court with outrageous stories resulted in arrests. The judges allowed for “spectral evidence” for which there was no legal precedent, thus elevating subjective experience over objective evidence and reason. A number of the accused were from families in the town who contended with the families of the girls in legal cases of the past or were friendless or isolated elderly single people.


Witch Hill atau The Salem Martyr,
by Thomas Satterwhite Noble (1835–1907)


The execution in Boston in 1656 of accused witch Ann Hibbins predated the Salem trials

Eventually the governor of the colony put an end to the trials after prominent men were accused and after protests by respected pastors and colonial leaders. In subsequent years, some of the girls and even Judge Sewell publicly repented of their role in the events of those months. Most of the accused were innocent of practicing the “dark arts.” The number of executions at one small town in New England were dwarfed by the hundreds and thousands who died for “witchcraft” in Germany, France and England in that same era, but the events of Salem have been grasped by the enemies of godly government and Puritan culture to condemn all Christian rule in America as nothing but witch burning and hypocrisy.


Witch Trial of George Jacobs - History

An extremely dramatic depiction of the 1692 Salem trial of George Jacobs for witchcraft. Presumably there was considerably more order in the court when Rebecca Fowler was tried in Maryland seven years earlier, but she and George shared the same fate. (Image source: Library of Congress)

When you think of witch trials, Salem, Massachusetts usually comes to mind, as the site of a rash of accusations and mass hysteria that ended with hundreds accused and twenty people executed for witchcraft in a span of a few weeks. The DMV was never gripped by a panic of Salem’s scope for one thing, the District was founded in a significantly less witch-paranoid century. [1] However, the area was not quite a stranger to witch trials. In 1635, the Maryland Assembly adopted England’s Witchcraft Act of 1604, declaring witchcraft to be a felony, punishable by death in some instances. Before, witches were the province of the church now both church and state would punish witches. While this law was seldom used, a few witches were actually put to trial, including Rebecca Fowler, the unfortunate Marylander who was the only person to be executed for witchcraft in the state’s history. [2]

The number of witch trials in Maryland’s history are in the single digits. The few accusations of witchcraft that were brought to court mostly ended in the discrediting of the accuser and lawsuits for defamation. [3] Executions for witchcraft were not common outside of New England (even trials were almost unheard of outside of Massachusetts and Connecticut), but a few occurred elsewhere, including on ships heading to bound for America (in one instance, the captain of a Maryland-bound vessel blamed an old woman on board for causing a storm, and hung her from the mast). [4] [5] Most judgements on witchcraft were focused on cracking down on false accusations, which were considered more serious by judges because they could lead to violence (e.g.: Salem). [6] The more southern Chesapeake colonies were less Puritanical than their northern countrymen, and so, as researcher William H. Cooke speculates,”they may have been less inclined to look around every corner for a witch.” [7]

Nevertheless, seven years before the Salem Witch Trials, Rebecca Fowler was accused of witchcraft in Calvert County. Probably in her forties or fifties at the time she was accused, Rebecca lived in the area known as Mount Calvert Hundred, having sailed from England in 1656. [8] She and her husband John met while indentured servants to the same landowner they had worked their way out of indenture, and her husband had managed to finally purchase some land in 1683. Her accuser was an indentured servant himself, named Francis Sandsbury, who worked on her husband’s plantation, Fowler’s Delight. [9] The details of the incident are unclear, but from what we can infer from court documents, Francis suffered some kind of injury or illness which he blamed on Rebecca. Possibly she cursed at him, or the two had some sort of altercation prior to this injury either way, he reported Rebecca for witchcraft, and she was seized by the authorities.

The modern-day reconstruction of the Maryland State House in St. Mary's City, where the Provincial Court met and where Rebecca would have been tried. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Maryland Provincial Court was the only one in the state allowed to try capital cases, so Rebecca was arrested and taken to trial at the then-state capital of St. Mary’s City, on September 30, 1685. [10] The court brought forward the accusations that she had been “led by the instigation of the Divell” to practice “certaine evil & dyabolicall artes called witchcrafts.” [11] Her indictment declares her to have made Francis’ body “very much the worse, consumed, pined & lamed,” as well as the vague accusation of repeating these offenses on “severall other persons” at “severall other dayes & times.” [11] [12] Rebecca pled not guilty to the charges, and requested a jury trial, which she was granted. [13] We have no record of the evidence put forth against her, but the jury must have found it convincing the twelve jurors found her guilty of the charges against her, and left it up to the court to determine if this meant she met the legal definition of witchcraft. (It’s telling of how few witch trials there were that the court was so unfamiliar with the specifics of the laws on witchcraft that they had to take a recess of a few days to bone up on the particulars.) [14] She was sentenced on October 3, when the justices ordered that she “be hanged by the neck untill she be dead.” [14]

It's unclear what evidence was brought against Rebecca, although weighing the same as a duck certainly didn't help her case. (Image source: Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

This was an extremely unusual decision. Other trials of similar character occurred, but none of them led to such a harsh sentence. Another woman from Mount Calvert Hundred, Hannah Edwards, tried in 1686 in similar circumstances, was acquitted and set free. [15] (The fact that she probably knew two of the jurors may have had something to do with this, but her case’s result was the general rule rather than the exception.)

So why was Rebecca punished so harshly? One modern scholar, Dr. Rebecca Logan, speculates that the court’s decision may have been linked to a recent scandal that made the court look bad, making them want to appear “tough on crime” and regain their authority in the public eye. [16] Whatever the reason, Rebecca suffered the full punishment of the law for an impossible crime of which she was unquestionably innocent.

The only other time that the Maryland Provincial Court handed down a conviction for witchcraft (John Cowman, convicted in 1674), the putative witch was saved by a last-minute decree of the Maryland Assembly. [17] If Rebecca hoped for a pardon, however, she hoped in vain: the Assembly was out of session during her trial and sentencing. [18] Rebecca Fowler was executed on October 9, 1685, with no chance for appeal.

No other Marylanders shared Rebecca’s fate. The last witch trial in the Chesapeake area was in 1712, when Virtue Violl was acquitted of making Elinor Moore’s tongue “lame and speechless.” [19] Witch trials became much less frequent in 18th-century America, although a handful still occurred sporadically until mid-century executions for witchcraft in the United States ended with the panic in Salem. [20] In 1736, England repealed the Witchcraft Act the era of the witch trial was over, but not soon enough to save Rebecca Fowler. [21] [22]


3g. Witchcraft in Salem

Thomkins H. Matteson, 1855'>
George Jacobs Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret were both accused of witchcraft, but Margaret managed to escape harm by claiming that Grandpa was indeed a witch. He was convicted and hanged in August 1692.

Surely the Devil had come to Salem in 1692. Young girls screaming and barking like a dog? Strange dances in the woods? This was behavior hardly becoming of virtuous teenage maidens. The town doctor was called onto the scene. After a thorough examination, he concluded quite simply &mdash the girls were bewitched. Now the task was clear. Whomever was responsible for this outrage must be brought to justice.

The ordeal originated in the home of Salem's Reverend Samuel Parris . Parris had a slave from the Caribbean named Tituba . Several of the town's teenage girls began to gather in the kitchen with Tituba early in 1692. As winter turned to spring the townspeople were aghast at the behaviors exhibited by Tituba's young followers. They were believed to have danced a black magic dance in the nearby woods. Several of the girls would fall to the floor and scream hysterically. Soon this behavior began to spread across Salem. Ministers from nearby communities came to Salem to lend their sage advice. The talk turned to identifying the parties responsible for this mess.


"There's no place like Salem. There's no place like Salem. "

Puritans believed that to become bewitched a witch must draw an individual under a spell. The girls could not have possibly brought this condition onto themselves. Soon they were questioned and forced to name their tormentors. Three townspeople, including Tituba, were named as witches. The famous Salem witchcraft trials began as the girls began to name more and more community members.

Evidence admitted in such trials was of five types. First, the accused might be asked to pass a test, like reciting the Lord's Prayer. This seems simple enough. But the young girls who attended the trial were known to scream and writhe on the floor in the middle of the test. It is easy to understand why some could not pass.

Second, physical evidence was considered. Any birthmarks, warts, moles, or other blemishes were seen as possible portals through which Satan could enter a body.

Witness testimony was a third consideration. Anyone who could attribute their misfortune to the sorcery of an accused person might help get a conviction.

Fourth was spectral evidence. Puritans believed that Satan could not take the form of any unwilling person. Therefore, if anyone saw a ghost or spirit in the form of the accused, the person in question must be a witch.


The Trial of Rebecca Nurse

Last was the confession . Confession seems foolhardy to a defendant who is certain of his or her innocence. In many cases, it was the only way out. A confessor would tearfully throw himself or herself on the mercy of the town and court and promise repentance. None of the confessors were executed. Part of repentance might of course include helping to convict others.

As 1692 passed into 1693, the hysteria began to lose steam. The governor of the colony, upon hearing that his own wife was accused of witchcraft ordered an end to the trials. However, 20 people and 2 dogs were executed for the crime of witchcraft in Salem. One person was pressed to death under a pile of stones for refusing to testify.

No one knows the truth behind what happened in Salem. Once witchcraft is ruled out, other important factors come to light. Salem had suffered greatly in recent years from Indian attacks. As the town became more populated, land became harder and harder to acquire. A smallpox epidemic had broken out at the beginning of the decade. Massachusetts was experiencing some of the worst winters in memory. The motives of the young girls themselves can be questioned. In a society where women had no power, particularly young women, is it not understandable how a few adolescent girls, drunk with unforeseen attention, allowed their imaginations to run wild? Historians make educated guesses, but the real answers lie with the ages.


What can we learn from the Salem Witch Trials?

24th September 2020 21:14 BST

Disinformation and paranoia, made worse by religious politics and fear-mongering: an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum traces the history of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, which led to executions of innocent people, predominantly women, and established a morbid fascination around the development of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. And while some of the manuscripts, paintings, and household items included in the show date back to the 15th century, the historic lessons for visitors are all too applicable today.

The exhibition breaks with traditional folklore and places the murders of the so-called “witches” within the context of social and economic crisis, humanising the people involved and drawing parallels to our current conspiracy-driven political climate. Starting with the European origins of witch-hunting, the show explores how Puritans brought theocratic anxiety to the colonies and shaped their criminal justice system around religious supremacy.

The Salem trials took place in the aftermath of a smallpox outbreak, and its consequences helped bring down a Puritan regime hellbent on “purifying” New England. Dan Lipcan, a co-curator of the show and the museum’s head librarian, believes these insecurities are evergreen.

“Prejudice, injustice, and intolerance are on everybody’s minds now,” Lipcan said. “The trials were driven by fear, harsh weather, disease, supply shortages, and war—which altogether created the conditions for invented crimes and persecution for no good reason.”

Despite Salem’s reputation in the popular imagination, executions for witchcraft charges were commonplace in early modern Europe. More than 50,000 Europeans were burned at the stake between 1560 and 1630 during the Counter-Reformation, when Catholic and Protestant churches competed for market dominance. The exhibition sets Salem’s trials against this historical backdrop, displaying a 1494 copy of the German witch-hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum alongside British diagnostic texts.

In Salem, many accused witches were teenagers, refugees fleeing French occupation, or household workers (most famously Tituba, a slave of the disgraced minister Samuel Parris). Judges would convict them using “spectral evidence”, often based on memories from only one witness. Tompkins H. Matteson’s 1855 painting of the George Jacobs trial appears with examination records and the two canes Jacobs used to walk, which accusers said he used in his spectural form to beat them. Another Matteson painting, Examination of a Witch, shows a group of men and women disrobing Mary Fisher in pursuit of identifying the Devil’s mark on her body. Examination records of Elizabeth Proctor and Bridget Bishop are displayed alongside Mary Esty’s petition of innocence and a gold sundial owned by John Proctor all were convicted of witchcraft, but only Elizabeth avoided execution, because she was pregnant.

The exhibition also includes texts questioning the ethics of the trials, from Cotton Mather’s hardline defense to dissenting opinions by Thomas Maule and Robert Calef, which had to be published outside of Massachusetts, as Governor William Phips banned any texts contradicting Mather’s. Considering the final pardon clearing the names of five people convicted of witchcraft was only issued in 2001, this exhibition is a timely portrayal of how governments can sanction disinformation, and why these events have compelled so many generations since.

• The Salem Witch Trials 1692, Peabody-Essex Museum, 26 September-4 April 2021


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